Wednesday, February 26, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Round 1 + X Striping Tutorial

I have two more untrieds to share with you in tonight's mani, and a tutorial for my X-design accent nail. This is my first stab at a St. Patrick's Day manicure, and I love how it turned out! I'm a birthday shamrock princess, so I always get really into my green looks. I think I'll end up trying to incorporate gold rather than silver in my final birthday design, but this was a great start!

Here's the tutorial for my accent nail. It's totally simple, and really doesn't require hardly any skill--just a steady hand and some patience! But I was asked to make one by a few people, so I figured why not?!

1. Paint your base color, and let it dry completely. I used Zoya - Neely (untried #1!)
2. I like to cut all my tape before getting started. Depending on how many X's you want, cut enough medium and small-sized pieces, plus some extras just in case. I got my striping tape from the Born Pretty Store.
3. Start with a single X dividing your entire nail. 
4 & 5 Add smaller V's within each quadrant of the X. 
6. If you want to add a second X, do so where you have space. Sometimes I skip this step if I'm in a hurry.

7. Apply one coat of your second color to the entire nail. Go for an opaque color that won't require multiple coats, since you want to remove the tape before it dries.
8. Carefully remove the tape using tweezers.
9. Clean up, top coat, and you're all done!

The other nails are a subtle gradient using Sinful Colors - Snow Me White and Zoya - Neely, topped with The Juicebox Lacquer - Nobody Likes You When You're Dead (untried #2!) 

Have you been sharing your untrieds with Rei and I on Instagram? Only two more days to join us on the #hiveminduntrieds tag for a chance to win some nail goodies!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Delush Polish XOXO Collection

Hi everyone! Today I have some nail art to share with you that I created from two polishes I ordered from the Delush Polish XOXO Collection. I absolutely love this indie line, and have been wanting to order from her again ever since my obsession with her Dexter-inspired Slice of Life Collection began in the fall. These polishes come from a trio of pretty Valentine's themed shades that are girly and so unique!

Je Ne Sais Quoi is a white crelly polish with pastel pink and green glitters and large pink holo dots. These photos show three thin coats with two coats of HK Girl Topcoat on my index and pinky fingernails. This is the polish that literally forced me to order from Delush again--I saw some gorgeous swatches, and knew it had to be mine! Formula was wonderful, the polish applied evenly, and I didn't even have to dig for those big circle glitters that I love so dearly.

Macro shot to show the squish. And the light caught the holo at a really nice angle here, too!

Make Me Blush is a stunning, soft pastel pink with gold hued iridescent shimmer throughout. I tried so desperately to capture the gold, but eventually my camera battery died. Seriously. It's soooo incredibly pretty and feminine in real life. Photo shows two thin coats topped with HK Girl Top Coat under the rose design on my middle finger (and on my thumb that you can get a peek of in some of these photos!) This is the first glitter-free polish I've tried from Delush, and it applied like butter. I was also not sure how opaque this polish would be, and found that it build much quicker than I anticipated. 

This macro is terrible, but catches some of that gold. Honestly, you should all just buy this polish now so you can fully experience it. You will love it!

My accent nail is a Julie G textured glitter, (no name on the bottle) and I happened to have it right next to Je Ne Sais Quoi on my desk. When I realized it perfectly matched the pink glitters, I had to combine the two for the look! I also used the Julie G and Sinful Colors - Snow Me White for the roses, and Zoya - Wednesday for the little petals. 

These polishes, along with the third in the trio (which is Beyonce inspired, so sassy I love it) are available from Delush Polish right now! 
Monday, February 10, 2014

Colores de Carol - Heart of the Ocean

Good evening, lovely people! Tonight I have another #hiveminduntrieds post, along with my main diva over at Reinovate Nails. This one features Heart of the Ocean by Colores de Carol, my second pick from her Love's Maiden Voyage collection. I'm really excited that I can already see some growth since I chopped my nails down to supernubs, and it's a great feeling to showcase that growth with such a stunning polish!

Heart of the Ocean is a deep, navy jelly packed with holo sparkle. Photos show three thin coats with topcoat. I loved watching this polish build between coats. It was sheer enough that it became more and more sparkly with each coat, but it didn't get too thick or goopy. Formula overall was fantastic, and dried to a not-quite-super glossy finish. 

And here's the macro! Drooooool.

I'm really excited to try out my last polish from this collection! This was my first order from Colores de Carol, and I've been very pleased with the quality of the polishes. Not to mention how easy it is to work through my untrieds when they're all so gorgeous! Have you been joining Rei and I in our challenge? Be sure to tag your untried photos on Instagram for a chance to win some nail goodies at the end of the month!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Inni Nail Strips

UPDATE: Inni Nails is now on Kickstarter! Try out these fabulous and unique nail strips and help this new company reach their funding goal!

Today I'm excited to share my review of a relatively new product on the nail scene. Before I really started to get into nail art and swatching, I went through a phase where I loved incorporating nail strips into my manicures as an accent nail. Since I hadn't ever tried to create designs on my own, but I was interested in mixing things up, this was an excellent option for me. However, I quickly found that there weren't as many designs available as I had ideas in my head, and that some brands of nail strips were just difficult to work with, and didn't create the desired effect.

Enter Inni Nail Strips! Through their website, you can design your very own nail strips, or browse the many designs uploaded by other users. I was intrigued by the concept, but wondered, how would the quality stand up? Read ahead to learn more!

Product provided for review.

On the Inni website, you can access the studio, (shown above) which allows you to create your own design using a variety of tools, or to even upload an image saved on your computer. The studio was very user friendly, and I played around with a bunch of different designs before eventually choosing a pretty lavender brocade pattern that had been uploaded by a previous user.

 Soon after making my selection (much sooner than I anticipated, as they travel all the way from Finland!) my strips arrived. Here's what you get: 30 strips printed with your chosen design in varying sizes, a file for shaping the strips to your nail, and a brief set of instructions printed at the top. Very simple and sleek, and I was really pleased with the number of strips and variety of sizes provided.

Here's a close up shot of the instructions. Straightforward and easy to follow. I definitely recommend following step 1 and swiping your nails with remover before application, even if they're already clean. Doing so made the strips adhere to the nail much better. Also, I love the measurement feature that allows you to select the right size for each nail.

By matching the nail to the strip, you get a precise measurement for the width of your nail, and can choose the appropriate strip for your size (each strip is labeled by size this way). This is a feature I haven't seen with any other nail strip kits, and found it to be very helpful! They also have a Youtube video that introduces the product and walks you through the steps.

Following the included instructions, I applied a strip to each nail, and shaped using the included file. The strips were very sticky, and adhered to the nail immediately. In this picture, you can see some slight lifting at the cuticle, which I addressed by applying a coat of top coat. That worked well, and the lifting wasn't apparent in real life, just in the super zoomed in photos. I also ran finer grit nail file over my tips to remove some of the "jagged" look from shaping the strips.

Here's the finished product. Notice how the lifting is less pronounced here.

This macro shot was taken after three days of wear! They really held up great, with only slight puckering on the left side of the nail. The website states they can last up to two weeks, which I don't doubt, but we all know I can't keep the same thing on my nails for that long.  :)

As I said before, my favorite way to utilize nail design strips is as an accent nail incorporated into a more dynamic mani, so I decided to include an example here! I paired the Inni Nail Strip with white studded nails (Snow Me White - Sinful Colors, studs from the Born Pretty Store) and Love.Angel.Music.Baby from the OPI Gwen Stefani collection.

Detailed nail art in seconds, what's not to love?! I would definitely put these strips in the same category as Sally Hansen strips, which are the most user friendly brand I've used in the past. (For reference sake, the worst brand I've used is Essie -- avoid those!) Though I'd say they're similar in quality to the SH strips, these are a very different material, and were a little tricky to work with at first just because they weren't what I was used to. By following the instructions and working slowly and carefully, I was able to get the hang of it, and was very pleased with the final result. Also, unlike the SH strips, they can simply be peeled off when you're ready to remove!

Inni Nail Strips are available with free international shipping through their website for $8.90/set. There are endless possibilities for designs, and you get a lot of strips for the price! Try incorporating one or two strips into a skitlette mani, or you can cut the strips into different shapes for a whole other look. I also think this is a great marketing option for organizations or fundraisers, especially if you have a logo that would be really difficult to create using freehand techniques. Enjoy, and let me know if you try them out!

Follow Inni Nail Design on Facebook and Pinterest
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Polish TBH - Thestral

I have another untried to share tonight! If you missed my first post about this, Rei of Reinovate Nails and I are working our way through our untried polishes this month. I picked this one up in a blog sale, and it's my first from Polish TBH. I absolutely adore black jelly polishes, and this one was no exception!

Thestral is a black jelly polish with medium sized purple iridescent and small holo hex glitters, and scatted silvery microglitters, and dries to a semi-matte finish. Photos show three thin coats topped with HK Girl Topcoat. 

This angle highlights some of the holo glitters on my middle and ring fingers better. In real life, you could see a lot more of the glitters, but those and the squishiness kept disappearing in photos. The base was on the thick side, but it applied evenly and was easy to work with.

Here it is with matte top coat. LOVE! Matte all the black jellies. I wore it this way for two days. I love how it's almost basic black--but with a twist.

And of course, a macro. This one shows the squish between the layers a bit better. So glad to have added this one to my collection, and even more so that I finally used it! Have you been joining Rei and I in our attack on untrieds? Remember to post them on Instagram with the tag #hiveminduntrieds for a chance to win a prize at the end of the month, and check out her blog to see her untried for the day!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Gwen for OPI Triangles

I am, and have been since adolescence, a HUGE No Doubt/Gwen Stefani fan. Tragic Kingdom was my angsty soundtrack through most of middle school, and when Gwen broke out on her own, I was in awe of her artistry and ability to distinguish herself as a solo performer. Naturally, I was thrilled when I started seeing the hype of this enormous style icon's collaboration with OPI. Like many others, I was slightly disappointed when the collection was first revealed. To me, it didn't have that "it" factor, the stand out star quality that Gwen exudes 24/7, the rockstar devil-may-care attitude that spits in the face of mainstream trends.

Well, I was wrong.

After taking in the evidence through various other bloggers and keeping an eye on OPI's social media campaign around this collection, I think it actually is pretty innovative. The experimentation with different finishes sets these polishes apart, especially in what seems to be the downward slide of grainy textures. I also appreciate how OPI seems to be embracing the nail art trend by providing ornamentation with Gwen's signature shade, and the development of a nail art app. This post is me biting my tongue, acknowledging my foolishness, and maintaing that Gwen is kickass and still an innovator, as she really snuck up on me with the uniqueness of this collection.

This mani features three polishes from the collection: 4 in the Morning, Love.Angel.Music.Baby (both of which have satin finishes) and I Sing in Color (which has a glossy finish). The triangle tips were freehanded using the polish brush, and the multi-triangle accent nail was done using striping tape from the Born Pretty Store.

I really, really love the satin finish of 4 in the Morning (black, base on middle finger and triangle tip on thumb) and Love.Angel.Music.Baby (gold, base on thumb, pinky, and ring fingers, and triangle tip on index). I applied two coats of these without topcoat, as recommended. They have a subtle shimmer, are velvety to the touch, and aren't quite fully matte. I hope this finish becomes a mainstay in future OPI collections!

I Sing in Color (base on index, triangle tips on middle and pinky finger) is a deep, vampy burgundy shade, that applied smoothly and evenly with full coverage in two coats. I especially love how this stands out against the black of 4 in the Morning on my middle finger.

I initially only ordered these three and one other polish from this collection, but after falling so entirely in love with them, I might need to pick up more. What do you think of the Gwen for OPI collection? Has it grown on you as it has on me?
Sunday, February 2, 2014

Colores de Carol - 1912 and #hiveminduntrieds!

I was talking with Rei, one of my all time fave nailbabes, about how unmotivated I've been feeling towards my nails since chopping them to nubs, and she suggested doing a month of untrieds to challenge ourselves and get some use out of those brand new polishes in our respective collections gathering dust. So, this is my first post February's month of untrieds! We'd love it if you joined in, and posted your untried polishes on Instagram with the hashtag #hiveminduntrieds (so named due to mine and Rei's tendency to share thoughts on a regular basis). Keep an eye on Rei's Instagram or mine as we will be posting details shortly on how you can win a fabulous polish prize for sharing your untrieds this month (and check out her blog, too!)

I kicked off my month of untrieds with a recent purchase, 1912 by Colores de Carol. I had been lusting over her Love's Maiden Voyage collection inspired by the movie Titanic, so I took advantage of a flash sale and picked a few up...which have since sat on my desk unused. Thank goodness for untried challenges!

1912 is a soft grey crelly with scattered silver holo microglitters. Photos show three thin coats with top coat.

Application of this polish was flawless, and I probably could have gotten away with two coats, but the third just made the color more rich and added some more sparkle.

Technically, I'm knocking out TWO untrieds with this post! I picked up the new Sally Hansen matte top coat a few weeks ago, but hadn't tried it yet. I like the finish, and I didn't get any of the white spots that have started appearing when I use my OPI matte top coat.

And a macro shot for your troubles! Love those glitters. The full Love's Maiden Voyage collection is available from Colores de Carol, and you will probably see my other selections popping up in the near future. Also, be sure to check out Rei's blog to see her first #hiveminduntrieds post!